Wellness Osteo

Wellness Osteo

At Wellness Osteo, we are osteopaths who focus on achieving optimal health and wellness, which means treating you and sharing our expertise with you. Read on for the ins and outs of osteopathy.

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Hamstring Tears

Hamstring Tears

Hamstring strains are very common in sprinting activities. Learn about the anatomy, causes and how to prevent it.

 

ANATOMY

The hamstring is made up of 3 muscles:
The Bicep femoris, the Semitendinosus and the Semimembrinosus.

All three muscles attach onto the Ischial tuberosity (the bottom of your glute), while the Semitendinosus and the Semimembranosus attach to the medial condyle of tibia and the Bicep Femoris attaches to the head of fibula.

These 3 muscles are not solely responsible for how fast we run, but they play the biggest part in our ability to run quickly, as they are responsible for knee flexion and hip extension, which makes us drive our legs through the ground and propels us forward. 

 

CAUSES

You’re likely to get a hamstring strain during activities that involve a lot of running and jumping and sudden stopping and starting. This can include sports like sprinting, soccer, AFL, basketball or any activity that involves explosive movements. 

When muscle fibres fail to cope with the demands, either by being rapidly stretched too far or contracted to exhaustion, strains and tears can occur. 

When straining your hamstring, the bicep femoris is the most likely of the 3 muscles to be damaged.  This more than often occurs during the terminal swing phase of Gate (bringing your knee forward when you run). This is because in the swing phase, the hamstrings are at their greatest length and at this moment, they generate maximum tension.

SYMPTOMS

Mild hamstring strains may not hurt too much, but severe ones cause immense pain, making it impossible to walk or even stand. Many people describe tearing their hamstring like getting kicked in the back of the leg!
Hamstring strains and tears are graded 1, 2 or 3 according to the amount of pain, weakness, and loss of motion.
– Grade 1 strain (mild) = A small number of muscle fibers are damaged. Local pain, no loss of strength. Usually a 2 week recovery period.
– Grade 2 strain (medium) = A significant number of muscle fibres are damaged. Swelling, tenderness, local pain and pain on contraction. There is a loss of strength and range of motion in grade 2 strains, and they can take 4-6 weeks to recover from.
– Grade 3 strain (severe) = Complete Tear/rupture of the muscle belly. Lots of swelling, loss of muscle contour, a severe limp and complete loss of function in the hamstring are seen. Complete ruptures are most common at the point where the muscle meets the tendon (musculo-tendinous junction), and take over 6 weeks to recover from, sometimes requiring surgery to repair. 

EXAMINATION

Most muscular strains can be easily identified by telling your health professional how it occured and what it felt like at the time. This is then confirmed with some strength and range of motion tests. If there is any doubt as to what injury may have occurred an Ultrasound is used to specifically diagnose muscle damage. 

 

TREATMENT

– Manual therapy such as dry needling, stretching, joint mobilisation, and taping can be used to promote effective scar tissue formation, optimize pain and give you the confidence to move again. 

– Individual specific rehabilitation programs: Tailored for each patient based on their own needs to gain back full function and strength to the area.  

– Improving coordination: through neuromuscular rehabilitation exercises.

– Addressing any predisposing factors: maintain or improve pelvic stability, improve posture, ergonomics, muscle imbalances, and therefore prevent further injury, and aid in the return to sport.
– Everyone runs differently so there is no one type of rehabbing a hamstring, you need to look at individual needs. 

 

MANAGEMENT/PREVENTION

Tips to prevent hamstring strains, as they are much harder to heal than to prevent:

– Warm up before exercising and do a proper cool down and stretch afterwards.
Hamstring stretch is affected by underperforming glute max and the core. If the glutes and core are weak, hamstrings can be overloaded and become strained, so make sure you do strengthening exercises to these areas.
– Increase the intensity of your exercise slowly. Lifting too much weight or running too fast or too far without working up to it can overload your muscles and lead to mechanical failure.